First Weekends at the Boilerhouse in Trinity Buoy Wharf one of Londons Hidden Treasures

Trinity Buoy Wharf is an undiscovered gem. Nestled within its own little peninsula, it sits on the Thames overlooking the dominant 02 Arena and at the junction where the great river meets the meandering Bow Creek.

Even the journey to the Wharf can be one filled with unexpected wonders. A short 15 minute walk from the East India DLR it’s possible to walk along the river past the spot where some of the earliest settlers set off for America in days gone by and then into one of London’s cutest little nature reserves.

Art from Irony at the entrance to Orchard Place in Trinity Buoy Wharf
Art from Irony and Joyce Treasure at the entrance to Orchard Place in Trinity Buoy Wharf

The road leading to the Wharf, Orchard Place, is filled with community art and remnants of the areas seafaring past. The latest addition, a creation from sculptor Andrew Baldwin on a roundabout at the edge of the peninsula, being a taxi with a metal tree growing out of it’s roof. Don’t ask, no explanation should be needed, you are about to enter one of Londons most exciting if slightly unknown art destinations.

It is here where Garry Hunter has chosen to base his studio. Hunter, the author of several books including two on street art has created a bijou little workspace turned art gallery in the old Boilerhouse 1954 in the middle of the wharf. And, for every first weekend from April until October it will be opened up to the public with a different exhibition and a selection of artist books to buy each month.

Garry at his workshop and studio in Trinity Buoy Wharf
Garry at his workshop and studio in Trinity Buoy Wharf

Hunter has already liaised with a number of artists to create bespoke works around the area. They add to the Wharf’s unique vibe and features original works from the likes of James Straffon who has created a wave like creation called Time and Tide built with over 4000 nylon cable ties attached to some steel fencing.

Other public works on the entrance to the wharf include pieces from New Zealand’s Bruce Mahalski whose mural ‘Electric Soup‘ on the side of a disused building shows an underwater scene, a homage to the area’s fishing village past whilst a typically realistic portrait of a woman with hair blowing in the breeze from local street artist Irony sits nearby.

An underwater scene from Bruce Mahalski
An underwater scene from Bruce Mahalski

Once at the riverside visitors are able to enjoy views across the Thames, visit a couple of good eateries in the form of the Driftwood Cafe and the iconic and unusual Fatboys Diner and then maybe pay a visit to London’s only remaining lighthouse which is also open on the first weekend of every month. The area is also known for it’s modern looking container city and it’s links to Michael Faraday.

More public works include a number of kinetic sculptures from Andrew Baldwin, a mural from Paul Don Smith and, looking out onto the horizon towards the towers of Canary Wharf, some mushrooms from the South African born artist Christiaan Nagel.

Trinity Buoy Wharf is an interesting place.  Here is a giant fish randomly hanging
Trinity Buoy Wharf is an interesting place. Here is a giant fish randomly hanging and swaying in the breeze

Part of the joy of Trinity Buoy Wharf is, says Hunter “discovering it” and the area is still ripe for discovery. The Boilerhouse 1954 will be open every first Saturday and Sunday from April till October between 12pm and 5pm with a different exhibition featuring a series of different urban artworks and a selection of artists’ books each month. Nestled in the shadow of Canary Wharf and the dominant O2 it is truly a hidden gem with a mix of history and culture which gives the area a very special ambience indeed.

For more information on Garry Hunter and the art of Trinity Buoy Wharf try:
Time and Tide Mural – The Turnpike Art Group
Brooklyn Street Art – Bruce Mahalski Mural
Little London Observationist – Interview with Garry Hunter
Fitzrovia Noir – Community Interest Company

Trinity Buoy Wharf Gallery

Art tribute to Michael Faraday by Paul Don Smith in the Wharf
Art tribute to Michael Faraday by Paul Don Smith in the Wharf
Longplayer at Trinity Buoy Wharf the worlds longest continuous piece of music in the Lighthouse
Longplayer at Trinity Buoy Wharf the worlds longest continuous piece of music in the Lighthouse
Gee Street Art on one of the hoardings in the wharf
Gee Street Art on one of the hoardings in the wharf
The Lighthouse on the Wharf is the last remaining one in London
The Lighthouse on the Wharf is the last remaining one in London
The 02 seen from the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse
The 02 seen from the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse
Fatboys Diner on Trinity Buoy Wharf
Fatboys Diner on Trinity Buoy Wharf

Click here to buy books from Garry Hunter signed copies are available at the Boilerhouse 1954 during the first weekends in Trinity Buoy Wharf

Street Art From Around The World
Urban Art – The World As a Canvas

10 Comments

  1. Hi Stuart Thanks for your latest blog – it’s a place I’ve been meaning to visit for ages and your article has really whetted my appetite… Can I just point out the incorrect apostrophes again, which proves my theory that there are the right number of apostrophes in the world, they’re just not in the right place! the area’s sea faring past out of its roof London’s most exciting New Zealand’s Bruce the area’s fishing village its modern looking its links to the world’s longest also it’s Christiaan Nagel… Still enjoying your updates – keep up the good work and please excuse my apostrophe obsession! Cheers, Paul Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 18:32:37 +0000 To: pauln53@hotmail.com

  2. Surreal is just one word of many that can describe this place! I went along on Thursday to miss the weekend visitors. At the end of the 277 bus route at Leamouth I made my way on foot to the isolated wharf via the East India DLV station bridge and along the river until a land subsidence notice gave me a slight detour. As soon as I turned into Orchard Place it felt like another time warp. Every now and again I would pass someone carrying a bubble wrapped picture. Stopping one of the dejected souls I asked was there an art sale? “No we are collecting our portrait pictures that have been rejected from the National Portrait Gallery awards submissions!!” (such a sad reply I thought)

    Another surreal thing was sitting in the Michael Faraday hut with not a soul in sight just as the Thames bells were ringing away. Fatboys Diner now makes it into my top six cafes and what a lovely latte the Italian owner made me. Another great find by you Stuart. A bonus was snapping some Ben Wilson chewing gum art on the pavement under the East Indian DLV on a shorter walk back.

    1. Try the Driftwood Cafe if you go back too, I really liked it in there šŸ™‚ It sure is a surreal place I could just keep going back again and again as it’s just such a nice vibe

  3. I did take a look on the patio of the Driftwood Cafe but I thought maybe it was closed!! I will be back that is for sure and yes tea in the cafe is a cert! Do you know who did the light bulb sculpture on the blue container Stuart? Cheers for such a wonderful post by the way…

  4. Hi Mitch. Lightbulb sculpture is by Claire Morgan – it comes on at dusk. Come and see us over one of the First Weekends exhibitions, next one is Sat 3rd / Sun 4th May 11am – 5pm. Lighthouse also open that weekend.

  5. Many thanks Gary…. I shall come and see that glowing! Only thing is that dusk is a couple of hours after you close. Is there still access in the evenings?

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